Be careful where you click. Think before you post. The Cyber Institute and the Clinical and Digital Health Sciences Department in the College of Allied Health Sciences offers these tips and more to help you protect yourself—and your devices—online.
- Create and use strong passwords: Create a strong password for protecting and accessing your device, but share it with your parents. You should not keep any secrets from them. A strong password consists of at least 15 characters that are a combination of letters, numbers and symbols if allowed.
- Don’t text and drive: Don’t use a device when driving; distracted driving is extremely dangerous. Besides that, it’s illegal to text and drive.
- Don’t install anything from suspicious sources: Only install apps and games on your phone from Apple Store, Google Play, Amazon Appstore. Never “sideload” games or use stores that require jailbreaking. Don’t download and install PC games or software that are “free” versions of the paid product.
- Better watch out before you click on a link: Be careful where you click. Links and attachments in texts, social media posts and e-mails can be links to viruses, phishing sites and other illicit material. If you think a message you receive is fraudulent, phishing or spam, you can check its validity at fraud.org.
- Turn off listening toys after using them: The wireless connected toys may ask interesting questions or just listen quietly, but you never know where the listening device transmits your words and conversations. Never leave listening toys turned on when unattended.
- Beware of digital impersonators: Never friend or chat with strangers online. If you don’t know the person trying to friend or talk to you, ask your parents or your guardian for advice.
- Never give out personal information online without your parents’ permission: Vet all online messages asking you to provide personal information such as your name, address, phone number, ID and password.
- Digital break-in is a real crime: Breaking into someone else’s password-protected device or computer system is illegal. Don’t do it, even if it’s a sibling’s device.
- Never download movies or songs illegally: Law enforcement takes online piracy very seriously. You may face criminal charges if you do it.
- Think before you post anything online: Once your photos and info are out there, they may be there forever. Even Snapchat images or videos can be saved forever.
- Cyberbullying is really hurtful: Use restraint and consider other people’s feelings before you write or post negative messages, comments or inappropriate or questionable photos. What seems like a joke to you may be quite hurtful to someone else. A good rule of thumb is don’t post anything online you wouldn’t want your parents to see. Inappropriate posts could hurt someone.
- Be open with your parents about your online life: Ask you parents to discuss and review privacy setting on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Google, Xbox, Sony Playstation sites and other social media sites. Also, you should only download apps that your parents have reviewed.
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